Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months.
Hepatitis A is usually spread by contact with people who are infected with the virus. People can also get hepatitis A from contact with objects, food, water or drinks contaminated by the feces of an infected person, which can easily happen if someone doesn’t properly wash his or her hands after using the toilet.
Some people are at higher risk for hepatitis A including those who:
Not all people with hepatitis A have symptoms. Adults are more likely to have symptoms than children. If symptoms develop, they usually appear two to six weeks after being infected and may include:
The hepatitis A vaccine (HepA) is the best way to prevent the disease. Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for:
Talk to your healthcare provider and view the CDC’s recommended immunization schedule for adults to find out if you need the hepatitis A vaccine.